The famous Baron Munchausen dumps two dimwits in the African jungle. A rescue team mistakes one of them for the missing Baron, and returns them to the US, where they're greeted as heroes. ... See full summary »
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The famous Baron Munchausen dumps two dimwits in the African jungle. A rescue team mistakes one of them for the missing Baron, and returns them to the US, where they're greeted as heroes. While giving a speech at a college, the "Baron" falls for a pretty girl, gets tangled up with a trio of nutty janitors and faces being exposed as a phony. Written by
Perhaps this film has been largely forgotten because it's usually marketed as (if you can find it at all) a 3 Stooges film, but in fact The Boyz play only a minor supporting role. The film in fact is a much classier production than the later Stooges features, with a screenplay by Herman J. Mankiewicz, whose other scripting credits include Dinner at Eight and Citizen Kane, and songs by Dorothy Fields, one of the all time great popular songwriters who wrote or co-wrote classics like I Can't Give You Anything But Love, On The Sunny Side of the Street, and The Way You Look Tonight.
The ostensible lead is Jack Pearl, reprising his radio-show characterization of the folk hero Baron Munchausen -- the show made a national catch-phrase of Pearl's trademark query, "Vas you dere, Sharley?" which is of course worked into the movie. But the show is totally stolen by a startlingly young Jimmy Durante, whose speech is one long rapid-fire stream of malapropisms, and who in one great scene is asleep snoring: "Hot cha-a-a-ah! Hot-cha-a-a-ah!"
The plot is too silly and irrelevant to need summarizing, having something to do with the real Baron deserting Pearl and Durante in the wilds of Africa, after which Pearl travels to America where he gains fame and fortune by impersonating the Baron, which results in an invitation to lecture at the all-female Cuddle College, a venue which provides the opportunity for several girls' dormitory bevy-of-beauties musical numbers a la Busby Berkeley. Edna May Oliver, veteran of a million character roles, is the no-nonsense Dean. The script is almost composed of a series of outrageously and deliberately bad jokes slapstick, sometimes veering into the surreal, reminiscent of the Marx Brothers' antics in Duck Soup.
All in all, a delightful, outrageous 1930s confection which deserves to be better known. Available in a region 1 DVD from Warners Home Video in an adequate but not great print/transfer.
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